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Gloria Ann Harper passed away peacefully in the afternoon on December 8, 2013. She was 83.
Gloria was born on February 20, 1930, in Tacoma, Washington, to loving parents Ethel and Archie Nelson.
Gloria grew up loving school and excelling. She ice skated with her parents and enjoyed paper dolls. She helped in her dad's restaurant and played with neighborhood children and took piano lessons. She made lifelong friends who had kept in touch with her to this day.
Gloria joined Tacoma Assembly No. 2 Order of Rainbow when she was a teenager. She loved this organization and later became active as an adult adviser in Port Townsend.
Gloria graduated from Stadium High School in 1947 and from the College of Puget Sound (UPS) in 1951. She was active in drama, an avid reader and became a teacher. She was hired and came to Port Townsend as a young high school teacher that year.
Then, she met Bob Harper, Port Townsend High School Class of 1947, and he swept her off her feet. They were married June 21, 1952.
Gloria took time off from teaching and had son Keith and daughters Kristina and Karen. When Keith entered the sixth grade at Lincoln School, Gloria returned to teaching sixth grade in 1965 at Grant Street. She was a traditional and energetic teacher, adding French lessons, music presentations and drama to her classroom.
Gloria was a member of Key City Players, starring in the presentation of "Witness for the Prosecution." She was a member of SLA, PEO and Eastern Star. She served as mother adviser of Port Townsend Rainbow Assembly for 10 years. She loved hosting family and friends and opened her home often for parties and holidays.
When Gloria and Bob finally retired, they loaded up their motor home and took excursions throughout the Northwest and traveled throughout the country. Bob caught the fish, and Gloria cooked them over the fire.
Their Brittany spaniels were their constant companions. Between trips, Gloria was installed as the first woman president of the Port Townsend Kiwanis Club. Gloria was active in starting the Stars of Tomorrow program. She and Bob loved Kiwanis and its members. They traveled to Kiwanis conventions and made many friends.
When Bob died in 1999, Gloria's life slowed down. She was content in her house, and she enjoyed crosswords, television, being with her family and walking with her beloved Brittany, Meg.
Gloria lived the last six years of her life in San Juan Villa, Port Townsend, where she was loved and taken care of.
Gloria is survived by her son, Keith, and his wife, Jeinell, and their children, Nick (Lacey) and Melissa; daughter Kris Logue, and her husband, Dave, and their children, Tanner (Stacy), Karianne and Marcus (Natalie); and daughter Karen Sedlak and husband Bob and their children, Dylan (Cassie) and Jaci Brown (David).
She is also survived by eight great-grandchildren; her sister, Lana (Tim) Barnes, and their children, Amy (Bob) McCann and Carleigh (JP) Flaharty, as well as Carleigh's three children; and her very special California cousin, Jeanne Bowden.
There will be a celebration of Gloria's life on Saturday, January 25, 2014, at 11 a.m. in the Masonic Center at Jefferson and Van Buren streets, Port Townsend.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Port Townsend Scholarship Foundation, 538 Calhoun Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368; or the Kiwanis Foundation, P.O. Box 489, Port Townsend, WA 98368.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Dec. 18, 2013